Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 141–148 | Cite as

Discrimination and the Health of Immigrants and Refugees: Exploring Canada’s Evidence Base and Directions for Future Research in Newcomer Receiving Countries

  • Sara EdgeEmail author
  • Bruce Newbold


Research and practice increasingly suggests discrimination compromises health. Yet the unique experiences and effects facing immigrant and refugee populations remain poorly understood in Canada and abroad. We review current knowledge on discrimination against newcomers in Canada, emphasizing impacts upon health status and service access to identify gaps and research needs. Existing knowledge centers around experiences within health-care settings, differences in perception and coping, mental health impacts, and debates about “non-discriminatory” health-care. There is need for comparative analyses within and across ethno-cultural groups and newcomer classes to better understand factors shaping how discrimination and its health effects are differentially experienced. Women receive greater attention in the literature given their compounded vulnerability. While this must continue, little is known about the experiences of youth and men. Governance and policy discourse analyses would elucidate how norms, institutions and practices shape discriminatory attitudes and responses. Finally, “non-discriminatory health-care” interventions require critical evaluation to determine their effectiveness.


Discrimination Newcomers (immigrants refugees) Health Health-care services Canada 



This research was funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Ontario Region. Sara Edge would also like to acknowledge financial support received through a Canada Graduate Scholarship Doctoral Award from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster Institute of Environment and HealthMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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